Ben O’Connor: Tough love paid dividends for Charleville

Ben O’Connor: Tough love paid dividends for Charleville
Ben O'Connor hugs Andrew Cagney after defeating Courcey Rovers in the Cork County PIHC final replay at Pairc Ui Rinn yesterday. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

By Therese O’Callaghan

Ben O’Connor has enjoyed many great days in red and white. This time, it was the red and white of Charleville and as coach, his second term. He said they have achieved what they set out to do.

“The brief at the start of the year was to win the county championship, it was about nothing else. We were disgusted with the way we played last Sunday, especially hitting 16 wides. We knew what we were going to get again today from Courceys. They gave us a going over in a league game down in their place before and after last Sunday as well.

“With 10 minutes to go, it could have gone anyway. Our boys kept doing what they have been doing all year. Running the ball through the lines and great support play.

We had a few harsh words for fellas during the week. They took it on the chin and they came out fighting and I am delighted for everybody involved. They are a great bunch of young fellas.

“I thought the referee would never blow it up. It would have been a killer to have been beaten at the end but we weren’t. Winning by one point is as good as 10 points to us tonight. We will go home now and have a bit of a celebration tonight and a bit tomorrow and we will regroup for Saturday.”

He also had a word on Darragh Fitzgibbon.

Four great frees from Darragh. They were out a nice bit, but the only thing was he was striking them with a bit of a breeze behind him. Darragh is well able to hit frees. We wouldn’t expect anything less from him because he is one of the top players in the country.

“It is great to be senior. You would be hearing about local derbies in the city and east Cork. We have Newtown and Ballyhea, and Charleville inside in the middle of them. It is great because with the way the divisions are now some of the local rivalry is gone. In the league matches next year, there will be a bit of bite around the place.”

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